June 2012

Cap Nouveau!

When I was a kid I was an avid collector of baseball caps.  New, old, rare.  If it was a baseball cap, I wanted it, mostly so I could make an awesome rap video someday where every jump-cut had me donning a different logo.

Well, I never got around to being a famous rapper with a wide audience to view my videos (despite making this hit, and this hit), but Mr. eXquire sure picks up the slack.

The lyrics are NSFW, but you could just as easily turn the volume down and watch those beautiful baseball caps roll.  There’s even an ALTERNATE RED-BRIMMED EXPOS CAP YO!!!  Holy DeLino DeShields!!!

Happy Saturday!

Jeff

PROGRAMMING NOTE:

The Filibuster will take this week off, but if you wanna see Mr. Krause and I squirm, hit us up with a filibuster question by commenting or emailing us at RSBSBlog@gmail.com.

RSBS Readers Do Some Good, Make a Difference

Image courtesy of Chicago Noble Network Charter Schools

Celebrate, dear readers!  You did something good.  Actually, not just good… FANTASTIC!

Remember back in March when we did our St. Patrick’s Day campaign?  By participating the way you did, you helped raise $750 that we donated to the Chicago Bulls College Prep School athletic department to be used specifically towards purchasing equipment for the school’s baseball team.

Athletic Director Steve Silva and baseball coach Roberto Rosado were very gracious for your efforts and wanted Mr. Krause and I to share with you just how appreciative they are.  Coach Rosado even took the time to answer a few questions…

- – -

Mr. Lung:  Please give us a brief synopsis of your school’s current baseball program.  What level is the level of competition? Any accolades of note?  How many active participants?

Coach Rosado:  I just want to say thank you for this contribution to our program. A brief overview of the program is as follows: we, Chicago Bulls College Prep, started playing baseball during the 2010 season.  So we have been in existence only three years now. In that time we have appeared in back-to-back conference championship games. Unfortunately we lost both games. As far as participants, we have two teams. We have a junior varsity and a varsity team. On the JV team we had 18 players and on the varsity we had 16 players.

Mr. Lung:  Your school’s mission statement is to “prepare students for college graduation and purposeful citizenship by exhibiting ambitious scholarship, self-discipline, honorable character, and a fit lifestyle.”  How does your baseball program help promote this statement?

Coach Rosado:  We want to promote the development of good, honorable young men by playing well and respecting our opponents and the game. The majority of our players have GPAs that average from 3.0 to 3.6 and we also have a few student athletes with a 4.0 GPA.

Mr. Lung:  What sort of unique challenges do inner city baseball programs face today?

Coach Rosado:  There just are not enough decent baseball diamonds for all of the high schools in the inner city.

Mr. Lung:  Do you have any initial ideas of how you might like to use the $750 donation to better your baseball program?  To purchase equipment?  Uniforms?  Field maintenance?

Coach Rosado:  Yes, we, as a baseball program need a batting cage. Since we do not have a practice field behind our school, like a lot of the suburban teams, we must get an indoor batting cage to compete at the highest level.

Mr. Lung:  Lastly, if there is anything you would like us and our readers to know about your baseball program — a specific story or standout individual or anything like that — please let us know.  We want to help promote baseball for our city’s youth and are eager to spread any good news your team and its players might have to share.

Coach Rosado:  In our first year, 2010, we started our program with only 11 players and our record was 4 – 9.  We lost in the 1st round of the playoffs. The following year (2011) we had 24 players and a record of 20 – 4.  We lost in the conference championship game.  Due to all of the hard work and dedication put forth by our players, we have had much success in a short amount of time.

- – -

While Mr. Krause told me he hoped to see RSBS emblazoned jerseys on city fields in the Chi, I think we can both agree that Coach Rosado and the Chicago Bulls Prep baseball team will find a good use for your hard earned dollars.  With limited resources, they’ve already made the championship game two years in a row!  Here’s to wishing them the very best in the future as they aim to take the title!

People Who Look Like Their Reputations

Some folks have the gift of hiding their flaws.  Then there are the rest of us.

Mitt Romney.  So fresh and so clean.  Such a good speaker.  Smooth to the max.  He’s as politician as politicians come: smarmy, creepy and full of s***.

How is Lindsay Lohan still getting work again?

And of course, in baseball, it doesn’t get any more pathetic then Mario Mendoza.  Not only is his career .215 BA and dismal .507 OPS a benchmark for awful, but just look at the guy.  Awkward.  Awkward.  And more awkward.

I don’t know this for a fact, but I would also be willing to bet Mendoza is a mouth-breather.

Hate me ‘cuz I’m crass, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

*Programming Note*

Mr. Krause got married.  YES!  HE GOT MARRIED!  So he’s off with his lovely wife, gallivanting the seven seas or something, til next week.  Until he returns, I’ll be driving the RSBS ship, and I admit, I have had a bit too much to drink.

The Filibuster

Whose side are you on?  Team Dusty or Team Derek?

Kenny
Batavia, IL

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It’s hard choosing sides sometimes.  Like, what do you do when you’re friends with both sides in a couple and the split is less than amicable?  Or when two 115-year old tortoises decide they can no longer live together, who gets to keep the cage and who has to move?  These are tough questions and it’s rare that anyone comes out of the situation feeling good.

The only difference is when you really can’t stand one of the two people.  Like, for instance, Dusty Baker.  This is the guy who is probably most responsible for destroying the careers of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.  The guy who almost let his young son get trampled during the 2002 World Series.  Derek Lowe?  I don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about him.  But when a manager asks his pitcher to “brush back” the other team’s pitcher, well, that seems kind of odd.

The specifics of the situation are weird because there really aren’t any specifics.  It’s not like the tortoises where they just grew apart and then started biting each other.  That’s pretty black and white.  This is more of a “he said nothing, she said nothing” type of conflict where we have absolutely no idea what really happened.  And for whatever reason, although the two guys obviously can’t stand each other, neither one will come out and say what happened to lead up to this incident.

The biggest problem for me is that Lowe plays for the Indians and, as a Tigers’ fan, I really don’t care much for the Indians.  It’s kind of like if I had to choose between two friends who were splitting up and one of them was a Notre Dame fan.  That would seem to make the decision a little easier because I really don’t like Notre Dame.  However, when the second person is a loudmouth deadbeat who scratched a few of my DVDs and never even apologized for it, well, the Notre Dame thing doesn’t seem quite as bad anymore.  Team Dusty or Team Derek?  Put me firmly in Mr. Lowe’s column.  He never scratched any of my DVDs.

-A

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

We Didn’t Need Another Hero

In 1991 the Minnesota Twins won the World Series in 7 games.  In the final game of the Series, a single in the 10th was the hit that won it.  Seven months earlier, 52 hits rained down on Rodney King and led to the LA riots in 1992.

I don’t think anyone would say that Rodney King was a good guy.  The 1991 beating was the result of a DUI stop following a high-speed chase.  But I also don’t think anyone would say he deserved to get his ass handed to him by a bunch of racist LA cops.  With the videotaped beating and the subsequent trial of the officers, King became a cultural touchstone.  The LA riots only added to the legend and King’s plea, “Can we all get along?” became part of our national vernacular.

20 years later, King has left the building.  It’s odd to think about how someone who really only had a bit part to play in history ended up becoming so important to the recent history of the United States.  I’m pretty sure just about anyone alive at that time remembers the beating, the trial of the officers and the ensuing riots.  But how many people remember Jack Morris’ 10-inning shutout that clinched the Series for the Twins and clinched him the Series MVP trophy?  King may not have been a hero.  He may not have even been that good of a person.  But his story still redefined a moment in American history.

-A

“I thought he was a weird wuss anyway…”

That’s right.  Davey Johnson speaks for me.

In this case, we (Davey and I) are talkin’ about my surly and oft dour colleague, Mr. Allen Krause.  Surely these words sting, almost as much as watching Mr. Krause’s beloved Tigers defeat my WORLD CHAMPION ST. LOUIS CARDINALS in their recent 3-game series.

Indeed, Verlander is a beast.  But the following inequality is true:

Westbrook + Lohse > Verlander

Unfortunately, the following is also true:

Santiago + Peralta + Jackson + Berry > Marte

Ugh.

I’m sending my representation to handle the press conference:

Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Obligatory Roger Clemens Post

Roger Clemens is not guilty.

Great.

Can this be over now?

Of course it can’t.  It never will.  For now until the end of time we’ll still be talking about the steroid era and those who made it infamous.  Clemens is just one of many.

Still, I think it is safe to say his role in the overall picture of the steroid era is a bit larger than the rest.  He’s up there alongside Barry, considering his Hall of Fame credentials and repugnant personality.

Before any of this steroid silliness was known, I loved Roger Clemens.  He was a beast on the mound — a Nolan Ryan/Bob Gibson throwback.  Proud, nasty, BALLSY.

But the Mitchell Report tainted his reputation, whether guilty or not, and Roger then ruined it further himself by being an outspokenly whiny ass.  I understand the potential frustration that could come from having a tarnished reputation, but there are ways to handle adversity with class and there are ways to handle it like a jerk.

Clemens took the jerk route.

And undoing what ya done ain’t easily done.

Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Harper’s Bazaar

Photo via Yahoo

The Washington Nationals are without a doubt one of the best stories of the year.  And, of course, you can’t talk about the Nationals without inevitably turning to the direct youth infusion that is Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.  Probably the most amazing thing about these two guys is how well they seem to be handling the pressure at their relatively young ages.

Ever since we first celebrated Stras-mas in 2010, we knew we were in for something special.  Bryce-giving has been almost as good.  Through half a season his numbers have him in a rarified group of baseball players and already have stat-heads drooling over his promise.  However, that initial part of the sentence, “through half a season,” should remind us that he’s not yet Micky Mantle.

If there’s one thing that really makes me believe that Bryce-giving could become the same annual holiday that Stras-mas appears possible to become, it’s this:

That question had foot-in-mouth disease written all over it.  But instead of pulling a Humberto Quintero:

…Harper gave just about the perfect answer.  Well played, young man.

-A

The Filibuster

Matt Cain this week threw what some people are saying was the best “perfect game” ever.  Is it really possible to say that one perfect game is better than another and, if so, which one would you vote for?

Sal
Fresno, CA
___________________________________

Absolutism is relative.  I think.  No, I am sure it is.  Maybe.  I mean, this is the GREATEST BASEBALL-POLITICO BLOG OF ALL TIME, IS IT NOT!?!?!

I think so, but such a statement comes with the caveat that one would have a hard time quantifying it.  Why is it the best?  Because of Mr. Krause?  Because of Mr. Lung?  Because of the interns?

That’s just the very beginning of a long list of things that makes RSBS the G.O.A.T.

But can we quantify what exactly makes one perfecto better than another?  Not really.  But it’s fun trying.  For example, Matt Cain’s 14 strikeouts tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a perfect game (Sandy Koufax, 1965), which clearly demonstrates superior command and dominance over the opposition.  Cain also threw 19 first pitch strikes and never got himself in a 2-0 count.  Meanwhile, his defense did some dazzling.  Both the 6th and 7th innings featured unbelievable catches in the outfield that, had they not been made, would have sunk the perfect game effort.  The last out, a hard ground ball to third base that put Joaquin Arias in a stutter step also provided one final gasping twist to the accomplishment.  All of the above, plus Cain’s eery zen mound presence throughout it all, provide plenty of quantification for it being the “best” perfect game ever.

Still, it’s relative.  And maybe we see it as the “best” right now because it’s fresh in our minds.

I recall Randy Johnson’s 2004 effort against the Braves as being one of the most dominate games I’ve ever seen too.  The Big Unit struck out 13 in that game and was throwin’ nasty stuff all the while.  David Cone didn’t see a 2-0 count in his 1999 perfecto against the late Expos, a game where he also had to sit out for a 33-minute rain delay, on Yogi Berra Day, with Don Larsen in the stands!

But, for me, the best perfect game I’ve ever seen came on a lazy Thursday afternoon in July 2009, when Mark Buehrle pitched himself into the record books, again.  What made that game so special, for me, was that I was watching it at work and by the 8th inning, I was watching it with the UPS man, the FedEx man and yes, even the mail man.  When Dewayne Wise made “the catch” we reveled in our mutual south sidedness and gave each other big, sweaty man-hugs.

That’s the sorta thing that only happens once in a lifetime, so I’ll be hanging my hat on the Buehrle perfecto for the forseeable future.  But that’s just me.

You can hate me for that.  Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.

Peace,

Jeff

Have a topic you want to see us Filibuster? Send us your Filibuster questions by emailing RSBSblog@gmail.com or by commenting below.

Bizarro Baseball

Bizarro baseball.  You know what it looks like.  No, not that bizarro baseballNor this one, though I do like the idea of a batless batsman.  The bizarro baseball I’m talkin’ about is the kind I was forced to watch Tuesday through Thursday of this week.

My DirectTV Extra Innings and MLB.TV packages both blackout my home team St. Louis Cardinals’ television broadcast streams when they are playing in my home market (I happen to live on the south side of Chicago).  And while I have become quite used to watching the Cubs’ broadcasts whenever they play the Cardinals, for the first time since I moved to the Chi, I had to endure the cliched, logorrheic tomfoolery of one Hawk Harrelson whilst watching my favorite ballclub play.

Of course, as a longtime neighborhood White Sox supporter, I have withstood many a Hawk-infested baseball game; so this was nothing new to me.  But in the past I’ve always been able to leave the game knowing “whew, at least that guy isn’t callin’ my teams’ games!”

Plus, his shenanigans don’t seem quite as cute when YOUR team is the “bad guys”.

But that’s why we have the mute button.  And M.O.P.

Happy Friday!

Jeff

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